Shifting the Blame
Literature, Law and the Theory of Accidents in Nineteenth-Century America
By (author) Professor Nan Goodman
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Shifting the Blame by Professor Nan Goodman
Book DescriptionDrawing on legal cases, legal debates, and fiction including works by James Fenimore Cooper, Mark Twain, Stephen Crane, and Charles Chesnutt, Nan Goodman investigates changing notions of responsibility and agency in nineteenth-century America. By looking at accidents and accident law in the industrializing society, Goodman shows how courts moved away from the doctrine of strict liability to a new notion of liability that emphasized fault and negligence. Shifting the Blame reveals the pervasive impact of this radically new theory of responsibility in understandings of industrial hazards, in manufacturing dangers, and in the stories that were told and retold about accidents. In exciting tales of the actions of "good Samaritans" or of sea, steamboat, or railroad accidents, features of risk that might otherwise escape our attention--such as the suddenness of impact, the encounter between strangers, and the debates over blame and responsibility--were reconstructed in a manner that revealed both imagined and actual solutions to one of the most difficult philosophical and social conflicts in the nineteenth-century United States. Through literary and legal stories of accidents, Goodman suggests, we learn a great deal about what Americans thought about blame, injury, and individual responsibility in one of the most formative periods of our history.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780691011998
(229mm x 152mm x 15mm)
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 1-Jul-1998
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Professor Nan Goodman
Turn Around Religion in America, Hardback (November 2011)
Playing on the frequently used metaphors of the 'turn toward' or 'turn back' in scholarship on religion, this title offers a model of religion that moves in a reciprocal relationship between these two poles. It emphasises on the rhetoric, ritual, typology, and symbology of religion.
Shifting the Blame, Paperback (March 2000)» View all books by Professor Nan Goodman
The author looks to both conventional historical sources and the literary depiction of accidents in the work of Mark Twain, Stephen Crane and others to explain the new ways that Americans began to make sense of the unexplained.
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